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MCI targets further US growth with Houston partnership

Agency to help drive meetings market for medical hub, while revealing plans to grow its presence in North America

Pictured: MCI Group president Robin Lokerman and Visit Houston president Mike Waterman

MCI Group has set its sights on rapid growth in North America after forming a partnership with Visit Houston.

The global professional conference organiser (PCO) says joining forces with the destination - home to the Texas Medical Center, the world's largest medical complex - made sense, with 60 per cent of MCI's business being medical-related.

MCI plans to establish a permanent office in Houston to strengthen the partnership, adding to its current North American offices in Washington and New York.

In 2015, MCI acquired US PCO and event agency Coulter Companies to establish its US presence, and subsequently launched the Black Flower Agency, concentrating on high-end events.

MCI Group president Robin Lokerman said an "ambitious growth plan" would see staff numbers swell from 150 to as many as 600 in the next five years.

He said: "We're very excited and honoured to become business partners with Visit Houston. Houston positions itself as a global destination and for us as a global company it makes sense to position ourselves alongside that."

Lokerman said MCI would be working to convince current clients to meet in Houston, as well as help bid for new business and also work with key opinion leaders to help take Houston's marketing "to the next level".

Visit Houston president Mike Waterman said: "We feel MCI's strength, especially around the medical industry, aligns directly with our key strength and we're thrilled to announce this partnership."

Houston is also set to benefit from US$1 billion worth of infrastructure developments being carried out in preparation for the Super Bowl in early 2017.

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